If you read my post on flying to Europe with WOW Air, you know that we took that flight to check out the popular budget airline, but also for the ability to have a quick stopover in Iceland en route to Ireland. Knowing we had very little time, I had only one thing on my to do list – go to the Blue Lagoon.
Yes, I know it’s touristy, but sometimes tourist attractions are that way because they are awesome. And I’m not one to be scared away from something just because it might be crowded or disappointing. My motto – it’s better to have tried something and regret it than regret not doing it!
With that in mind, we decided to use our 1 day layover wisely with a quick stop to Reykjavik to pick up Icelandic wool, chocolate and local coins before heading to the Blue Lagoon for our scheduled entry time.
The Blue Lagoon, with its majestic blue water contrasting with the surrounding volcanic rock is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. But due to the immense popularity, it leaves some to wonder is it all hype or is it worth it? Below are our pros and cons to help you decide if it’s worth it for you.
Why You Should Visit the Blue Lagoon
The photos you see on Instagram are not super processed mythical images that don’t live up to real life expectations. Honestly. What you see online is what you get in person. The milky blue water with steam rising up, set against the dark black lava rocks, is as amazing as it looks in photographs. From the moment you arrive, you begin to see the magical blue waters luring you inside.
It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to relax in a massive outdoor bath that is actually runoff from a power plant! I know that sounds weird, but really it is safe. Basically seawater is pumped from below the ground where naturally occurring geothermal heat causes it to turn into steam. That steam, is then used to produce power. The leftover water, which is full of restorative minerals, is then piped over to the Blue Lagoon waiting for visitors to indulge in. How cool is that?!
Who would think that essentially taking a bath with hundreds of strangers would be relaxing, but shockingly it is! Our visit began at dusk with the darkness descending around us. As we bravely slipped out of our bathrobes into the cold air, the steaming warm waters welcomed us in. Within minutes we were taken up by the cloudy water, searching out warmer and warmer spots as our body adjusted to the temperatures. As we focused on ourselves, the crowds of people around us disappeared into the steam, reappearing only here and there. An hour and a half later we emerged, relaxed and carefree. (So much so that we missed the last bus home!)
Why You Would Consider Not Going
A visit to the Blue Lagoon is not cheap. But honestly, nothing in Iceland is! There are cheaper, more authentic thermal pools within the city of Reykjavik, but they are not Instagram famous. Current prices start at around $57 for basic entry that includes only your entry into the pools. The current prices and pricing structure is in effect until the end of February 2018. From then, the basic entry package will disappear, leaving only Comfort, Premium and Luxury. The Comfort prices will start at around $65 per person including the use of a towel.
However, we recommend splurging and going for the Premium package which currently costs a little over $100 per person (but will drop to around $95 per person in March 2018). The Premium package includes a towel, bathrobe, slippers and a drink at the swim up bar (or inside). It also includes access to the fast track line which means very little time waiting in line to enter.
Yes, the Blue Lagoon is going to be crowded at almost all times of the year. Dreams of having it to yourself are just that, dreams. This is a top attraction in Iceland which draws the crowds. Due to the close proximity to the airport and the availability of free left luggage even those not staying in Iceland for more than a few hours find there way here. Tickets sell out weeks in advance especially during high season. During our visit, in late September tickets were sold out more than a week in advance. Once we were in the water, we didn’t feel the crowds so much. Additionally, there was no line for showers or for lockers, so even though there were a lot of people using the facility, it is big enough to accommodate everyone.
Yes it’s touristy. This is not a local authentic experience as you will probably not see or hear many locals who are not working here. But, the Blue Lagoon has a done a wonderful job of making this traditional aspect of life in Iceland welcoming and accessible to tourists and locals alike. Directions are clear, procedures are well planned out and the facilities are up to par for even the most discerning clients. And, like I said previously, sometimes things are touristy because they are awesome.
Conclusion: Should You Visit the Blue Lagoon?
I say YES, but this is really up to you. I definitely do not regret our decision to go. And honestly if our layover home from Ireland would have been even just an hour longer we would have splurged and gone a second time! We loved it and thought it was a fun, relaxing and super unique experience.
My only regret was not getting a room at the Silica Hotel. I had tried to book a room but they were fully booked. I checked in daily for 3 weeks for an available room, but never got one. And sadly we may have missed our chance since it is becoming an adults only hotel in 2018.
In conclusion, not only do I recommend that you make the journey to the Blue Lagoon, I say splurge even more for a stay at the Silica Hotel which grants you access to private pools that will make your visit even more special.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tickets must be booked in advance. Go to Blue Lagoon to book now
- Lather your hair in conditioner before entering the pool – seriously LATHER that stuff in like crazy so that your hair is white from it! If you don’t you will be dealing with crunchy brittle hair for the next week.
- Kids under 8 must wear floaties. No one is checking, but I would suggest it as it does make it easier to keep up with them and helps them keep afloat when they are so relaxed from the hours of hot steamy water! These are provided free of charge.
- There is a free left luggage room so you can bring your luggage from the airport if you have a short layover.
- Make sure to pack a bag with all your swim clothes, change of clothes, makeup and hairbrush in your carry on if you are on a quick layover.
- Taxis from the Blue Lagoon are expensive! For the 20 minute ride to the airport it cost $95! My advice – don’t miss the last bus back!
- Book the bus from either town or the airport in advance to save time and money
- You can store all your valuables safely in the locker. I left my wedding ring there with thousands of dollars of camera equipment, my laptop and more. Just don’t forget your little items when you pack up – the lockers are dark!
- Bring a waterproof phone pouch to hold your phone. Trust me, you will want it for photos.
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